Friday, May 20, 2011

In the footsteps of Rachel Carson

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ~ Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson is one of my idols. I admire her not only for all of the work that she did, exposing the dangers of garden chemicals and pesticides to the world, but because I think she was a fantastic writer. I aspire to some day be able to write as eloquently as Rachel Carson, and with my words, inspire my readers to protect this beautiful planet that we live on.

For those of you who know nothing about Rachel Carson, she is credited by many as being the person who inspired the environmental movement with her book Silent Spring, about the impacts of pesticides on human and environmental health.

Although she was attacked and ridiculed by the pesticide industry, her research and conclusions were sustained by a Science Advisory Committee appointed during the Kennedy administration. State legislatures responded by introducing pesticide-regulating legislation. Silent Spring was translated into more than a dozen foreign languages. Rachel was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received many other honors. On April 14, 1964, she died in her home in Silver Spring, Maryland.

On Sunday, May 22, there will be a talk entitled Gardening in the Footsteps of Rachel Carson, at 2:30 pm, at the Carderock Springs clubhouse, 8200 Hamilton Springs Road in Bethesda.

Dr. Diana Post, president of the Rachel Carson Council, will speak on gardening without pesticides and showing some photos from Ms. Carson's OWN gardens. . Also present will be Mitch Baker of American Plant, who will be available to answer questions on gardening and maintaining a lawn the organic way.

The program is free of charge but donations to the above council will be accepted. For more information contact

Here is an excerpt from my favorite Rachel Carson book, A Sense of Wonder, which was published posthumusely.

One stormy autumn night when my nephew Roger was about twenty months old I wrapped him in a blanket and carried him down to the beach in the rainy darkness. Out there, just at the edge of where-we-couldn't-see, big waves were thundering in, dimly white shapes that boomed and shouted and threw great handfuls of froth at us. Together we laughed for pure joy -- he a baby meeting for the first time the wild tumult of Oceanus, I with the salt of half a lifetime of sea love in me. But I think we felt the same spine-tingling response to the roaring ocean and the wild night around us. 

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